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themselves with clubs and stones, then, standing before the flock, with loud and dismal shouts, frequently drive away the wolf, before he comes within reach of the slings; So we, &c."
He goes on to declare the Jewish fast worse than drunkenness itself. To remove therefore this prejudice from the minds of the early .converts, extraordinary measures were taken; a consideration of which we recommend to the advocates of Antinomian grace. The Apostle was conscious that it was, in part, at least, the design of Providence, in his miraculous conversion, to send him as a minister to the Gentiles, and therefore he frequently insists on that fact, particularly in Phil. iii., where he expressly declares, that no man had better grounds for boasting than himself. He details at length the qualifications in which the Jews prided themselves, and avowedly relinquishes them as of no avail under the Gospel covenant, whatever they might have been under the Mosaic. Then be as often contends that the calling of the Gentiles was the great mystery peculiarly intrusted to him, see Rom. xi. 25, xv. 18, Eph. iii, &c. A due consideration of these passages will greatly elucidate many otherwise obscure arguments of the Apostle. Under these circumstances too, it will appear, how cautious we ought to be in applying St. Paul's expressions to modern disputes, except there should be found among us some, who like the Galatians, would add circumcision to the Christian faith,
It is by this opposition of faith to works, and to the law, that so many have been induced to argue, as if men were less obliged by the moral law, after becoming Christians, than they were before. Mrs. More has therefore judged well in appropriating one of her first chapters to the subject of Faith, and another to that of Morality. But on subjects so beset with difficulties, she should have been more didactic and less declamatory. For however faith taken in the comprehensive sense, usually adopted by St. Paul, cannot be too highly eulogised, still we are unable to give our assent to the following passage.
To change the heart of a sinner is a higher exertion of power than to create a man, or even a world. In the latter case, as God made it out of nothing, so there was nothing to resist the opera tion; but in the former, he has to encounter, not inanity, but repulsion; not an unobstructive vacuity, but a powerful counteraction; and to believe in the Divine energy which effects this renovation, is a greater exercise of faith than to believe that the Spirit of God, moving on the face of the waters, was the efficient cause of the creation." Vol. I. P. 82,
In thus representing faith to be an entirely supernatural gift, arising from the immediate impulse of grace; and conversion to be
be a greater effort than creation; (which, by the way, as they both relate to Omnipotence, is nonsense:) the foundation is laid of those doctrines, which Augustine first introduced into the church, and Calvin afterwards remodelled and enforced. Again, in p. 95, vol. i., it is asserted, that "morality is not the instru ment, but the effect of conversion:" but in p. 219, it is taught with greater truth, that,
"Nothing so effectually bars up the heart, and even the understanding, against the reception of truth, as the practice of sin. If any man will Do his will,' says the Divine Teacher himself, ' he shall know of the doctrine."
There are indeed some other important errors, which it becomes our duty, at this time particularly, to point out. Nor can we, from motives of respect, so far sacrifice that duty to the public, as not to mark, with strong disapprobation, the parallel made between our Lord and the Apostle, in chap. 15, vol. ii., at p. 143, particularly. With every due veneration for St. Paul, still the distance between his Master and himself was infinite. He underwent the severest trials and sufferings; but let these be increased to any amount we choose, can they even then be compared to the sufferings of the second Person of the Godhead, leaving his state of glory, and suffering all the afflictions of our mortal nature? Are indignities offered to a citizen of Tarsus to be compared to those endured by the Son of God? We did not think it possible for Mrs. More to have so forgotten herself. The following is the passage to which we allude.
"Finally, the judgments of Heaven bore the same kind of testimony to the truth of the Gospel in the prison at Philippi, as it had done on the Mount of Calvary. In the one instance, Behold the veil of the Temple was rent in twain, and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent. In the other, 'Suddenly there was a great earthquake, the foundations of the prison were shaken, the doors were opened, the chains were loosened, the captives were freed, the jailor was converted!" Are not all these circumstances, taken together, a clear solution of St. Paul's otherwise obscure declaration, that he thus filled up what remained of the sufferings of Christ?" Vol. I. P. 143.
Whatever might remain of the sufferings of Christ, to them, not all the sufferings of all the Apostles could make the smallest addition. For they like ourselves were not capable of doing more than it was their duty to do. But had Mrs. More quoted the whole text, the obscurity would have disappeared. I who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his Body's sake, which is the Church, Col. i. 24. And the sense is simply
this:-"Now I rejoice in my sufferings, so that you are in structed, and for the sake of the Church, I am very ready to undergo those sufferings which are imposed upon me by the Gospel of Christ, yet to come." Such is Schleusner's paraphrase, and the words are incapable of any other signification. Why Mrs. M. complained of obscurity, and why those words, in my flesh, are omitted in her quotation, she herself must explain.
There is indeed another text, which we might say was in like manner misquoted, but it seems to have been an accidental oversight, produced by a desire of rounding the period well, p. 85, vol. i. "God believed on in the world is the climax of this astonishing progress, but in the original, this step has another above it, Received up into Glory, 1 Tim. iii. 16."
Returning, however, to this strange parallel, we must ob serve, that the praises of St. Paul are pushed far beyond all bounds, not only throwing all the other apostles into the shade, but some expressions are actually reproachful towards them.
"As he had not been a follower nor an acquaintance of Jesus, he had never been buoyed up with the hope of a place in his expected temporal kingdom. Had this been the case, mere pride and pertinacity in so strong a character, might have led him to adhere to the falling cause, lest by deserting it, he might be accused of disappointment in his hopes, or pusillanimity in his temper."
And in p. 254.
"His powerful and diversified character of mind seems to have combined the separate excellencies of all the other sacred authors. The loftiness of Isaiah, the devotion of David, the pathos of Jeremiah, the vehemence of Ezekiel, the didactic gravity of Moses, the elevated morality and practical good sense, though somewhat more highly coloured, of St. James, the sublime conceptions and deep views of St. John, the noble energies and burning zeal of St. Peter."
And as if all this was not enough, he is described as adding powers of his own, which neither Isaiah, nor David, Ezekiel, nor Moses, nor James, nor John, nor Peter possessed. this absurd exaggeration as it may appear, is much less indecent than the comparison of the apostle with our blessed Lord. Surely more measured terms, more discriminating expressions would have become the sober years, and matured judgment of Mrs. More. We know not how to refrain from expressing our feelings on language which does not fall far short of denying Christ, and believing in St Paul. Before this work reached to a third edition, it is strange that none of her former clerical friends, who once signalized themselves very unseasonably in her
service, did not here seasonably hint the impropriety of such passages. Yet so complete has been their neglect, as to permit her reprinting a gross but unimportant mistake, which a schoolboy's knowledge of Greek, might have rectified. See p. 58, vol. I. where we have God forbid, represented as the very words of the ass, and he obtests the same Almighty name to his opposite practice. Now the Greek is merely unyevito, let it not be. To this neglect of their's, may we also attribute the inflated language which frequently occurs, as in p. 171, vol I. where to conquer human prejudice, is represented as an extreme effort to omnipotence. There are many other places in which Mrs. More, for the indulgence of her fancy, appears to have fallen into errors, which we have not time to notice; one, indeed, we cannot pass over, because Dr. Priestley often took the same line of argument. This is found in p. 168, vol. 2d.
"Jesus in the early part of his ministry was extremely cautious of declaring who he was, never but once owning himself to be the Messiah,"
But it is evident, from a careful perusal of Scripture, that our blessed Lord, from the first, instructed his hearers who and what he was. John the Baptist proclaimed him previous to his baptism. The Father from heaven immediately afterwards. In St. John, chap. Ist, we perceive that Andrew knew him to be the Messiah. So did Philip. Such Nathanael acknowledged him. So in John, chap. viii. 25-Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning. The unfortunate Heresiarch insisted on the contrary, as convenient to his system, but Mrs. More, without design, through want of recollection, we should presume. It would gratify us much could these and some other erroneous passages be erased from a work, which in many parts might afford holy meditation to many, and especially to those of her own sex. The divine, indeed, would not resort to it for the depth of its reflections, nor the critic for its elucidations; but every reader would be delighted with its glowing language, and be instructed by some excellent discourses, which would surprise him in the disguise of chapters.
We much admire the chapter upon prayer, from which we shall give our readers a long, but a very beautiful extract.
To pray incessantly, therefore, appears to be, in his view of the subject, to keep the mind in an habitual disposition and propensity to devotion; for there is a sense in which we may be said to do that which we are willing to do, though there are intervals of the thought as well as intermissions of the act as a raveller,' says Dr. Barrow, may be said to be still on his jour
ney, though he stops to take needful rest, and to transact necessary business' If he pause, he does not turn out of the way; his pursuit is not diverted, though occasionally interrupted.
Constantly maintaining the disposition, then, and never neglecting the actual duty; never slighting the occasion which presents itself, nor violating the habit of stated devotion, may, we presume, be called to pray without ceasing.' The expression watching unto prayer,' implies this vigilance in finding, and this zeal in laying hold on these occasions.
"The success of prayer, though promised to all, who offer it in perfect sincerity, is not so frequently promised to the cry of distress, to the impulse of fear, or the emergency of the moment, as to humble continuance in devotion; it is to patient waiting, to assiduous solicitation, to unwearied importunity, that God has declared that he will lend his ear, that he will give the communication of his Spirit, that he will grant the return of our requests. Nothing but this holy perseverance can keep up in our minds an humble sense of our dependence. It is not by a mere casual petition, however passionate, but by habitual application, that devout affections are excited and maintained, that our converse with heaven is carried on. It is by no other means that we can be assured, with Saint Paul, that we are risen with Christ,' but this obvious one, that we thus seek the things which are above; that the heart is renovated, that the mind is lifted above this low scene of things; that the spirit breathes in a purer atmosphere; that the whole man is enlightened, and strengthened, and purified; and that the more frequently, so the more nearly, he approaches to the throne of God. He will find also that prayer not only expresses but elicits the divine grace.
"Yet do we not allow every idle plea, every frivolous pretence to divert us from our better resolves? Business brings in its grave apology, pleasure its bewitching excuse. But if we would examine our hearts truly, and report them faithfully, we should find the fact to be, that disinclination to this employment, oftener than our engagement in any other, keeps us from this sacred intercourse with our Maker.
"Under circumstances of distress, indeed, prayer is adopted with comparatively little reluctance; the mind, which knows not where to fly, flies to God. In agony, nature is no Atheist. The soul is drawn to God by a sort of natural impulse; not always, perhaps, by an enotion of piety, but from a feeling conviction, that every other refuge is a refuge of lies.' Oh! thou afflicted, tossed with tempests, and not comforted, happy if thou art either drawn or driven, with holy David, to say to thy God, 'Thou art a place to hide me in.'
"But if it is easy for the sorrowing heart to give up a world, by whom itself seems to be given up, there are other demands for prayer equally imperative. There are circumstances more dangerous, yet less suspected of danger, in which, though the call is